More Open Houses for Brunette Interchange Proposed Upgrade

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is holding two additional open houses regarding the future Brunette Interchange on Highway 1.

The information at the open houses will be the same information that was presented at the first two open houses held on this project in early November.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the open houses scheduled for:

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016:
4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sapperton Pensioners Hall
318 Keary St.
New Westminster

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016
4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Gymnasium, Maillard Middle school
1300 Rochester Ave.

There are three design options for the future interchange, which will be presented at the open houses.

  • Option A: Brunette Interchange with Separate Municipal Connections and United Blvd. Connection:
    • The main crossing of Highway 1 is separated into two corridors – a two-lane corridor for local traffic and a four-lane corridor for regional and provincial traffic.
  • Option B: Blue Mountain Interchange with United Blvd. Connection:
    • This option extends Blue Mountain St. over Highway 1 to United Blvd. Interchanges become the main access to Highway 1.
  • Option C: Blue Mountain Interchange with Braid Industrial Area Connector:
    • The direct connection between United Blvd. and Brunette is replaced by a two-lane connection from Blue Mountain St. to Columbia St. via a new connector with a two-lane tunnel under the rail lines and Brunette River.

The project team will be present to answer questions. There will also be display boards with more information on the project.

To learn more, or to provide feedback online, please visit the project website:

Royal City Farmers Market – Free Tickets to Fundraiser Dinner

I love farmers’ markets. Be it Trout Lake, Lytton’s Friday Farmer Market, Coquitlam – Poirier, or the Royal City Farmers Market, I love farmers’ markets.

Farmers' Market
Farmers’ Market

I love the many varieties of fruits and vegetables with real dirt still on the roots that are available for purchase.

I admire the eccentric people who are so sincere about saving heritage apple trees, tomatoes, potatoes and chickens.

There is usually someone at the market selling real free range eggs and someone with fresh raspberries or cherries or strawberries that were grown nearby or maybe from out in the Fraser Valley.

Each of the vendors is there at the market forming meaningful relationships with people who will be enjoying the food that they have spent their time and energy growing. You’ve probably seen the Facebook meme going around – the one that says it is important to shake the hand of the person who grew your food. Well, that is exactly what farmers markets are all about.

So, to help out the Royal City Farmers Market I have purchased two tickets to their fabulous fundraiser dinner event that will be held at the New Westminster Hub Restaurant on Wednesday, May 21st from 7-9pm.

However, instead of me going to the fundraising dinner I want to give the tickets away to one of my local readers. What do you need to do to win my two tickets? Post a brief comment on this blog post saying what you like about farmers markets. Include in your comment a number of your choosing from between one (1) and one hundred (100).

I will let this giveaway run from now until approximately 6:30pm PST on Monday, May 12th, 2014. Shortly after that time I will use my Random Number Generator iPad app to choose the winning number and then I will email the winning entry to let them know about their win.

Keep in mind when entering this giveaway that these are tickets to a one-off event and can only be used on May 21st from 7-9pm at the RCFM fundraising dinner event.

What would also be helpful is for you to share this blog post through your networks – Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (just kidding), email etc. Let people know that farmers market season is beginning and in particular, let them know that the Royal City Farmers Market is hosting a fabulous fundraising dinner event at the New West Hub Restaurant (which I have heard amazing things about!).

Thanks and good luck.

My New Westminster Foodie Crawl

After my very successful foodie adventure in downtown Vancouver, I decided it would be fun to do a round-up of the places I like to eat while in New Westminster so I arranged all my client meetings from last week to be held in New Westminster eateries.

Let me begin by saying that there are many great places to eat while in New West and the places that I describe here are simply the places that I like to pop into now and then for a variety of lessons. I will also add that I paid for my meal at each place and the eateries did not know that I would be writing about the meal that I had at their joint.

Spud Shack Poutine
Spud Shack Poutine


All that being said, let’s begin with my “Gold Standards” for New West eateries.

For the best frites (or french fries) in New West (or Metro Vancouver in my opinion) I return to the Spud Shack. Located in the New West Skytrain station beside the movie theatre, these are the fries that all other fries strive to equal. Admittedly, the bowl in the picture is their poutine, but even their regular frites are amazing. Perfectly crisped on the outside. Perfection.


The Big Star Sandwich Co
The Big Star Sandwich Co



The next place I will go if I am in a bit of a hurry and only have time for a sandwich is the Big Star Sandwich Company on 12th Street just up from Fat City Tattoo.

The guys from Big Star told me they have an ancient dude under contract to make them the best corned beef this side of Montreal and I tend to agree.

Simply delicious. The meat is just salty enough to be delicious. And just as importantly, each bite is perfectly tender so that you can enjoy a mouthful without worrying about the entire slice of meat coming out of the sandwich in one piece. To balance out the salt in the corned beef there is a schmeer of mustard on the top slice of bread and a healthy spread of mayonnaise on the bottom.

While eating the sandwich I like to take a big bite a chunk out of the dill pickle. This is my Gold Standard to which all other sandwiches are compared.

And then we head down the hill to an unlikely place for a foodie to wander into, The Terminal Pub. Although you may not realize it from the location or the surrounding buildings, the interior of The Terminal has been renovated so that it is a very stylish room.

El Conquistador
El Conquistador

Earlier this week I held a client meeting in The Terminal and my clients were very impressed with the decor and with the food. Of special note, there are many menu options for people who require gluten free items. And I’m not just talking about salads.

If you want your burger served on a gluten free bun, they can make it happen.

I had the burger they call the El Conquistador. When it first arrives at the table it is simply stunning looking but then I realized that it was just two monster-sized onion rings inside the burger that made it so tall. Once they are removed it is just a huge burger.

Although the overall burger was very tasty, the burger patty was a tad too dense for my liking. I suppose I prefer the more homemade style patty like you would have at your mom and dad’s backyard barbecue. Let’s be clear though, it was an excellent burger package with the cheese and thick slices of bacon inside the bun.

And the fries were also very enjoyable. Not as perfect as the frites from Spud Shack but The Terminal’s were large fries, crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside.

After The Terminal Pub I ventured over to what we used to call the New West Quay. That site has been rebranded into what we now call the River Market and it is a foodie’s haven. There are many food and restaurant options available in the River Market. I started at the classic burger joint, Wally’s Burgers.

Wally's Burger
Wally’s Burger

I’ve had their Chuckwagon Platter before (and enjoyed it) but did not feel like having a beef burger on this particular visit. Instead I went for the Chicken Cordon Bleu burger with a side of fries.

Wally’s Burgers serves up these fabulous burgers on what looks like an entirely inadequate white bread bun that you think will never hold together. Somehow they always do hold together though and you end up licking the little bits of burger goo off your fingers afterwards.

Swiss cheese and two awesome slices of back bacon really added to the deelish factor of the burger. However, I chose the $1 option to add a jalapeno poppers to my burger but I did not really notice any significant heat in the burger.

The kind of skimpy bag of fries were good. Not great, not bad, just passable-good.

Right around the corner from Wally’s is Re-Up BBQ. Southern style barbecue done up right.

I had another client meeting in New West and we decided to meet up at Re-Up BBQ. This suited my purposes quite nicely. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich with two sides – an amazing buttermilk biscuit and a little Mason jar of black bean and corn chili.

Pulled Pork
Pulled Pork

My pulled pork was excellent. Tender and tasty with none of that too-tough meaty mouth feel. Perfectly seasoned with their light sauce – be aware, there is none of that Texas-style super thick barbecue sauce stuff here – this is Carolina style with the vinegar sauce squirted all through it. My personal favourite barbecue style.

The handful of cabbage coleslaw on top of the pulled pork adds just the right counterpunch to the meaty flavours of the pulled pork. Once again the bun is heroic in holding the sandwich together while I munched away at it.

My lunch date had the beef brisket sandwich and he reported full satisfaction with his sandwich. The beef was tender enough that he did not have the pull-the-whole-load-out at one time problem.

Beef Brisket
Beef Brisket


As a side dish he had potato salad made from Russian blue potatoes. The one piece of potato I tried was just a tad undercooked. My lunch date devoured the salad and had no complaints about it though.

So these are just a few of the awesome places to eat in New Westminster. Other places I have enjoyed eating at in New West include the Sixth Street Grill, the Hide Out Cafe, Cockney King’s Fish and Chips, Burger Heaven and the River’s Reach Pub.

I have also just been informed by a nacho expert that the Paddlewheeler Pub at the Rivermarket has what she is calling the best nachos she has had in Metro Vancouver. All in all, it looks like I will be have to do a part two New West foodie adventure! Until then, enjoy your lunch!!



Foodie Adventures in New Westminster

If I were to do a foodie crawl through New Westminster, which cheap eats, food joints would you like to see me include?

Right off the bat I am thinking of:

  • The Big Star Sandwich Co,
  • The Spud Shack,
  • The Terminal,
  • River’s Reach
  • Wally’s (yes or no? seeing as they are not unique to New West?),
  • Re-Up BBQ,
  • The Hideout Cafe,
  • Burger Heaven
  • Ki Sushi or Okonomi Sushi?
  • Coming Home Cafe

Which places am I missing? Which should I cross off this list?

Take Five Cafe Take Two; Day 10 NaBloPoMo

Ironically I had to “take five” out of my busy schedule in order to re-visit the newest location of the Take Five Cafe in New Westminster’s Brewery District development. And I can say that I am glad I did.

On my first visit I had the medium sized Americano. As I said in my previous post,this is the gold standard coffee that I hold all coffee shops to.


Take Five uses Oughtred Coffee beans which are roasted locally, in Delta. I have to say, the medium size Americano had three shots of espresso and was absolute perfection (cost was just over $3 for the medium cup).

I really don’t know the technical language to describe the flavour of coffee but I will say that it was almost like a buttery feel on my tongue. Superb.

They also serve a variety of tea and sandwiches. I’m not a tea drinker but I have to say, if I was to judge these teas by their covers, they look good.

Take Five Teas
Take Five Teas
Take Five Sandwiches
Take Five Sandwiches



I have not yet had the opportunity to taste any of the food at Take Five Cafe, all the ore reason for me to make another visit.

Overall, the room is very chic looking. The long table in the room is made from recycled lumber and has a great heritage feel to it. It is a nice counterpoint to the otherwise very modern, very clean lines of the room.

With the west “wall” of the cafe being a large glass roll-up door I can just imagine sitting at a table in Take Five on a cool summer evening enjoying conversation and sipping a glass wine (they are or will be getting a license to serve wine and beer) before jumping back on the Skytrain and heading home.

Roll-up Wall
Roll-up Wall


Not only for another Americano, but also to try a sandwich, I suppose I will have to return to Take Five Cafe….the things I do for my readers.

In all honesty, it will be a pleasure to return to Take Five. And I will let you know how the sandwiches are after I do visit them again.

Disclosure; this review is based on my personal opinion. I did not receive any form of compensation from Take Five Cafe or anybody else for writing this review.

Guest Post on New Westminster’s Taqueria Playa Tropical

A guest post today from a frequent reader, Ms Kelsey Keller who has a Delightfully Inappropriate blog of her own.

Admittedly, my sweetheart and I always say it’s our goal to support small local restaurants instead of massive chain ones, and yet we always seem to end up at a chain restaurant. We are drawn in by the mediocre but consistent fare (consistency being a must have with picky toddler in tow) and ‘perks’ like colouring pages and booster-seats that make dining with a ticking time bomb slightly less daunting. On the drive home, I inquire about sweetheart’s meal, to which he frequently replies “meh”. It’s not perfect, but it’s become habit.

About a month ago a friend of mine sent me a text message:

“OMG (yes, It says OMG, get over it!). BEST Mexican food ever. Tacos for $1.50. Authentic too, like a little Mexican greasy spoon. We MUST go! Seriously, soon!”

So, I texted her back with some scathing ‘zing’ about writing ‘OMG’, and inquired about the taqueria in more detail.

A month later I DREAM of tacos for dinner, my insanely picky toddler eagerly asks when we can go for ‘Mexican bread’ (tortillas) again, and my husband winks at me and comments on how it WAS our New Years resolution to support local business. We pile into our family car and drive the 5 minutes to our new favourite restaurant.

Taqueria Playa Tropical. 334- 6th Street?New Westminster. (604) 544-5006.

sign outside
sign outside
Restaurant view
Restaurant view

The signage outside is bright, but unassuming and I’d wager that most people would walk right by. A quick glance inside may not recommend it to prospective customers either. It’s a small space, painted brightly. The floor is covered with two different colours of laminate flooring, the tables are mix matched and unceremoniously wrapped in tan vinyl, and the chairs are a collection of ‘garage sale’ finds. It’s not fancy, but it is oddly inviting. There is something welcoming about its simplicity, and something familiar in its anti-cookie-cutter décor.

Sweetheart, Miss K (my toddler), and I sit down to eat. We are starving! We sit and wait for our server. We wait. We wait. We wait. This place certainly runs on ‘Mexican time’. Our server comes over, offers us some crunchy tortilla chips, two salsas in bottles marked in an amusingly low budget way, and takes our drink order.

Mild Sauce
Mild Sauce

We inhale the chips and agree they are delicious. Our server comes back with our drinks. They are served in ‘cafeteria style’ plastic glasses that are tall and durable. We order our food. Tacos. LOTS of tacos. The tacos are after all what my friend was raving about. Chicken tacos, steak tacos, shrimp tacos, fish tacos, two types of pork tacos, and vegetarian (bean) tacos. We order one of each to get a feel for what we like. Each of them is delicious and we each order another plate of assorted tacos. Again we are impressed. They are dainty, three bite tacos but each packs a flavorful punch. Each contains a protein, cheese, veggie (onion, pepper and/or tomato) and condiment (sour cream, avocado and/or salsa). They taste authentically Mexican and remind me of a teeny taco cart we ate from while in Cancun. Sweetheart orders an additional plate of steak and shrimp tacos, and I opt for a plate of chicken and bean tacos. We inhale!

taco plate
taco plate

Our server continues with the slow service even though there are only two tables of guests, one of which we occupy. Her engaging smile coupled with the delicious tacos she brings us, drive away any annoyance with the slow speed though. In fact, we embrace the unhurried pace and start to luxuriate in it. We enjoy the rare opportunity to nibble, chat, and enjoy being together in a stress-free way. Miss K dances to the easy rock sung in Spanish, and we have an enjoyable meal. Our server comes and dances with an enthusiastic Miss K who squeals with delight, and we order more tacos. We exhale and settle even more deeply into the leisurely pace. This place is starting to feel like ‘home’, minus the need to cook and dirty dishes in the sink.

Our server returns with yet another plate of tacos, and I ask about the specifics of the place. She tells me it opened on “ Cinqo de Mayo, that means May 5th in Spanish” and that while the owners (her parents) are from Ecuador, the chefs are from Mexico. We chat about how business is starting to pick up, and how they are hopeful the liquor license will be approved soon. We all nod in agreement about how an ice-cold beer would be icing on the cake. The server goes on to tell us how they are coming out with a new, and bigger, menu in the next few weeks that will include more tacos choices, as well as sides, soups, and deserts. She also tells us, with a wink, that they do take out too in case the kids (I also have a 7 week old) are asleep but we are desperate for tacos. I smile realizing that she is trying to put the hard sell on us, even though we are already hopelessly hooked!

We flag down our server one last time and request the bill. I notice sweetheart cringe as it arrives, a symptom of the chain-restaurant price tag we are accustomed to, and then he smiles. “That’s it?” he asks, “Yup, great food, great prices” our server quips as if she is part of a cheesy TV commercial. We pay the bill, which seems disproportionately small for the amount of food we inhaled, and head out the door. We get a few steps out the door and Miss K asks “more tacos again tomorrow mommy?” I’d hate to disappoint her adorable request, and am secretly pleased to have an excuse to indulge again so soon.

Kelsey is a self proclaimed ‘very amateur blogger’. When she isn’t fumbling through attempts at blogging, she is a mother of two (Miss K who is 2, and Bun who is 8 weeks old), a teacher, a wife, and quite possibly the most ‘domestically challenged’ person ever. She resides in New Westminster but can frequently be found daydreaming herself to more exotic locations.

The Burr Theatre Becomes The Columbia

The Columbia
The Columbia

Wondering why the people who bought the Burr Theatre are changing the name to The Columbia?

Well, they are changing the name back to what the theatre’s name was before it was the Burr Theatre; The Columbia.

Today I saw Doug, one of the crew working on The Columbia’s renovation. He informed me that the carpet is being installed in Level 2. That is where the comedy club, Lafflines will be located. More pics as soon as I get back in The Columbia!



The Burr Theatre Becomes The Columbia

A couple of weeks ago I was cruising along Columbia Street through downtown New Westminster and noticed a flurry of work going on around the Burr Theatre. I have long wondered what was happening with this iconic New West landmark so I wheeled into a parking spot, grabbed my camera and headed inside.

Lafflines at The Columbia
Lafflines at The Columbia

As soon as I got inside I met Mark Dinesen, Marketing Manager for The Columbia. Yes, the Burr Theatre will once again be The Columbia.

Inside and upstairs in The Columbia on Level 2 will be Lafflines. As the name suggests, there will be a comedy venue. This will be a separate business inside The Columbia.



Lafflines Level 2
Lafflines Level 2

Lafflines is currently located up Columbia Street and around the corner on 4th Ave. Once Level 2 of The Columbia is ready, Lafflines will make their move. From what I can gather, that move is actually imminent.



Also inside The Columbia will be a large open space they are calling The Grand Room.

The Grand Room
The Grand Room

This room can be rented by community groups, businesses who want to host an event, weddings and wedding receptions or any other event like … say an indoor circus. In fact, the Vancouver Circus School has already had discussions with The Columbia about putting on shows in the theatre.

The cool thing about this room is that it can be configured to hold any of the events that I mentioned above.

Another inspiring thing about the work going on inside The Columbia is the honour and respect that is being paid to the heritage factor.

The Grand Room
The Grand Room


The murals on the walls are being protected, the gold detail paint is being repaired and the posts that need to be replaced are being replaced.

Although when I was inside The Columbia, it looked more like a construction zone than a theatre, the inside of The Columbia is going to look incredibly beautiful. The attention to detail is exceptional.

View From Backstage
View From Backstage



Perhaps my favourite part of The Columbia is that just inside the main entrance is another venue. It is “the bar.” When I asked what it is going to be called Mark Dinesen said that they were not too sure at that point.

Inspiration came to me … I said, “Why not call it Ironside’s, in honour of Raymond Burr?” Mark said he would take that suggestion to the management team and see what they thought of it. His initial impression was pretty positive though.

Tomorrow I will try and get back inside The Columbia to see what progress has been made since I was last inside. I’m pretty sure that the changes will be noticeable.

For more pictures of the detailed work going into The Columbia, visit their webpage. They also show a photo of the carpet that will be going on the floor. Very plush and classy looking. As I say, I am going to try and get back into The Columbia tomorrow. More pics soon.

Lafflines at The Columbia (nee the Burr) Theatre

Lafflines Burr Theatre
Lafflines Burr Theatre

I was cruising along Columbia Street in New Westminster this afternoon when I saw a flurry of work going on around the entrance to what I have always known as the Burr Theatre.

I have seen the “Lafflines Coming Soon” sign out front of the theatre and have been wondering what was going on inside for a few months now.

Today I had a chance to peak inside!

In a few days I will post more pics and a few stories about the work that the crew are doing to reconfigure the Burr Theatre into Lafflines at The Columbia, a comedy club/meeting room/reception hall and all-round fabulous addition to the New Westminster downtown streetscape.

I will say that they have taken on a very ambitious job and are doing an admirable job. This is going to be a great facility once it is complete. Although the interior is still very much a construction zone the quality of Lafflines at The Columbia Theatre as a new gathering place is apparent. As I said, more pics and stories (including the phantom of the theatre) very soon!

Some may notice that I have referred to the theatre as the Burr Theatre as well as The Columbia. The name of the building will be The Columbia. Inside The Columbia will be a large gathering/meeting room known as the Grand Room at The Columbia for events such as weddings, business meetings and theatre performances.

Upstairs in The Columbia will be an altogether separate facility; Lafflines at The Columbia.

Pics to follow!! And, if you are itching to know more before I can post my details, have a visit to The Columbia’s webpage.

New Westminster Youth Centre

Some ten years ago the youth of New Westminster started to make noise about the city’s need for a facility where young people could gather and hang out. Knowing how New Westminster is notoriously short of land to build public facilities, one of the biggest questions was where to put a Youth Centre. The solution was somewhat surprising.

New West Youth Centre and Century House
New West Youth Centre and Century House

As you can see in the above photo, the Youth Centre is attached to the back of Century House – the place where many New West seniors go to hang-out during the day.

Seems kind of an odd location? Not so much says Councilor Jonathan Cote, point-man for City Council on the Youth Centre. There are a number of synergies that develop from having the two groups in one location. First off, the city’s data showed that most of the seniors leave Century House by about 4pm. Most of the youth are in school until 3pm. So the two groups are really only on the site at the same time for a very limited time.

Other synergies the city found were that the senior’s were in need of a new computer lab. A Youth Centre would need a computer lab. Weight room? Both groups could use a weight training room. Multi-purpose room? Both groups could use it.

New West Youth Centre Weights Room
New West Youth Centre Weights Room

However, the youth who were an integral part of the planning of the new Youth Centre wanted an area that was limited to youth-only. And they got it;

New West Youth Centre Lounge Area
New West Youth Centre Lounge Area

The Lounge area is a space reserved for youth. In this space there will be, as you can see in the above picture, a Foosball table, and a bubble hockey game.

New West Youth Centre Bubble Hockey
New West Youth Centre Bubble Hockey

There will also be plenty of areas where young people can simply sit and chill-out (if that is what young people call sitting around and talking with their friends noawadays).

New West Youth Centre Sitting Areas
New West Youth Centre Sitting Areas

Lounge area is filled with beautiful natural sunshine.

New West Youth Centre Natural Light
New West Youth Centre Natural Light

One of the things that you immediately notice as you enter the Youth Centre is the paint. The walls are painted in colours that simply make you feel peaceful as soon as you enter the space. Councilor Cote was quick to give credit where credit is due, the youth chose all the paint colours.

One of the things that the youth advocated for was the addition of a gym space. However, Council did not feel that it was appropriate to encroach into Moody Park anymore than they already had. Also, seeing as the Youth Centre is very close to NWSS, it was thought the gyms at NWSS would be accessible to youth groups.

Although there was not room for a full gymnasium, they did add in a multi-purpose room that can be used for many sport activities such as badminton, yoga or other exercise type activities.

New West Youth Centre Multi-Purpose Room
New West Youth Centre Multi-Purpose Room

Another advantage of attaching the new Youth Centre to the back of Century House was that the washroom facilities already existed; remember the outdoor washrooms? Down those creepy stairs and into the scary space behind Century House? Those washrooms have been updated and are now inside the building.

New West Youth Centre Washrooms
New West Youth Centre Washrooms

As well as having the Lounge area for the youth there is a full kitchen for their use. There will also be a large screen television added so that movie nights are an option for the youth.

At the end of our tour I asked Sandon Fraser, Youth Services Coordinator, what the hours of operation of the Youth Centre will be (considering the proximity to NWSS, I thought what a great place the Youth Centre would be to hang-out rather than sitting in a Math class). Sorry kids, the Youth Centre will not open until 3:15pm. It will stay open until 9pm Monday to Thursday and on Friday and Saturday nights the Centre will stay open until 11pm.

One more benefit of locating the Youth Centre in Moody Park is that 45% of the youth in New West live within a 10 minute walk of the new Youth Centre.

Perhaps the very best thing about the new Youth Centre is that the federal and provincial governments contributed close to $2 million in the project so that the City of New West only had to come up with a contribution of approximately $1 million.

Overall my impressions are that this is a first class facility that will become a place prized by the youth of New West. I will report back after the September 15th grand opening.

Well done